The New Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man

Philippe Glade has been a fan of Burning Man for 20+ years. He takes time every year to travel the entirety of Black Rock City looking for amazing examples of architecture. He has brought us the Golden Rebar awards, which we covered here:

2015 Golden Rebar Awards: Pods Pervade the Playa

2014 Golden Rebar Awards

2013 Golden Rebar Awards

This is Black Rock City

Philippe finally took his work and published it as a book, thinking that others in the community would be interested in what took years of his life. We get a shout-out in the book, Burners.Me is thanked for being the “counter-culture” of Burning Man.

The book was featured in Architectural Digest, WIRED, Curbed, and CNN.

Sadly, only 289 people were interested enough to buy one. Philippe, disillusioned, plans to quit Burning Man for good and burn the remaining copies of his book. He says “as far as I see participants are not really into the fabric of their city, this is a sour surprise for me.”

Philippe wrote a sad farewell on his blog This Is Black Rock City

After 21 burns and 10 years blogging it’s time to call it quits.

This blog was created to be more reactive than my old pages
going back to 1996 and with the hope to inspire and grow
a community of like-minded participants building a functioning city
in an inhospitable environment while having fun, mostly.

Within the years I posted thousands of images of camps, structures,
along with hundreds of reliable links, which was an exhausting labor of love,
my ethereal gift to the community.

The Golden Rebar Award was created to highlight the innovative
or most surprising shelters that I considered as important
as the various art installations all along the playa.

My secret fantasy was to have an informal and zany ceremony were I could give away the physical Golden Rebar Awards.

Instead of that, I made a book.

2 years were spent on  Research / Writing / Editing / Design and Layout (which paid off with a 2017 Graphic Design Award) / Production and Problem Solving /
The result was a burner worthy book with a tactile cloth cover and blind embossing, packed with info, data, tips and, most of all, a very large visual spectrum of our vernacular architecture.

One year was spent on a worldwide promotional campaign with stellar results: features on CNN, Wired, Wallpaper (of all!!), Architectural Digest and more (not too bad for a Frenchman working alone from a tiny San Francisco bedroom)

From around the world 289 buyers daringly purchased this self-reliant project.

This dismal performance resulted in several drastic personal changes.

As for the commodification debate, the goal was with the profit,
to publish limited edition books of two talented playa photographers.

Instead of working on this exciting project, I am looking, now,
for international movers to cheaply and sheepishly
regroup and recoup overseas.
Time to burn the page.

Unable to keep a sales structure and book cases in storage,
by respect for my daring 289 buyers, the remaining books (850)
will be terminated (Baker beach style) at the end of the year
without any Black Friday, French tickler Sunday or Tutu Tuesday.

The good news is: there will be one less photographer on the playa
and one less overwhelming blog to read.

Support Philippe and buy one of the limited edition books before they are gone forever. It’s really very good, the range of Burnitecture on display is truly mind-blowing. Big thanks and much kudos to Philippe for taking the photos, and all the imaginative Burners who created the structures.

The Global Leadership Conference for 2018 has been called off, perhaps to avoid answering awkward questions raised by our Shadow History of Burners investigation. Is this it for Burning Man now? Are people just over it? Is it really a lifestyle and ideology that can change the world, or is it just a fun party for one week a year?

Will other temporary cities emerge with this kind of ephemeral architecture? I sure hope so.


Re-blogged from This Is Black Rock City

Welcome to Black Rock City 2017 Golden Rebar Awards

Golden Rebar for keeping up 
with Buckminster Fuller
Black Lotus Society Camp with true geodesic sphere of 24′ diameter
Golden Rebar for Serene Scene
Serene is the least word you would associate Black Rock City with.
Weathered burners know this place, so I will not mention it in a vain attempt to keep it as is,
an oasis of silence
Octayurts in the Mindfield
Sometimes there is a fine line between an art installation and a camp
There goes the Neighborhood Golden Rebar
Suburbia Camp 2017 once again brought tongue-in-cheek and joie de vivre with its white picket fences, plywood mansions, mailboxes, astroturf and traffic lights
Caravan of Light Camp 2017 with portal
Caravan of Light Camp with many Bell tents
Mayan Warrior Camp with Alien Buffalo Tents
Tension tent with SHIFTPODs for Serendipitea Camp

 

Black Rock City Shelter

Cloud Extruded. Courtesy of Philippe Glade.

philippe glade
Black Rock City Shelter

The Chiton. Courtesy of Philippe Glade.

philippe glade
Black Rock City Shelter

Sacred Spaces Village. Courtesy of Philippe Glade.

philippe glade
Black Rock City Shelter

Hundertwasser House. Courtesy of Philippe Glade

Read more at This Is Black Rock City.

Cities of the Future Could Look Like Burning Man – if BMOrg let them [Update]

Gizmodo yesterday had a fascinating story about the Black Rock City Ministry of Urban Planning contest to design a new layout for Black Rock City.

Burning Man is an experiment, right? So why should only Larry Harvey and Stuart Mangrum be the ones conducting the experiment, by setting the themes? Why not experiment with new ways of living together, a temporary, pop-up civilization? Personally, I always thought was what Burning Man was all about. These days, I wonder if the nature of the experiment has perhaps been different all along from the sales pitch we were given over the Kool Aid water cooler.

The Black Rock City Ministry of Urban Planning competition was started last year, and was quickly covered by widely read publications like VICE and ArchDaily, the world’s #1 architecture website.

Despite BMOrg coming out to say “no change, no competition”, the response has been impressive.

From BRCUP:

The Results So Far

We have been pretty amazed by the scale of the response.

Since we announced the project last fall, 1629 people and teams from 168 countries have signed up to participate.

To date, we have received 72 submissions.

Gizmodo’s story goes through many of the submissions. I’ve selected a couple of examples:

Cities of the Future Could Look Like Burning Man
This proposal offers elements for “neighborhood improvement” like the addition of designated parks and public squares that could become locations for cafes and other meeting places, by Phil Walker of CallisonRTKL, USA

Cities of the Future Could Look Like Burning ManA proposal to redesign Burning Man’s Black Rock City as a Navajo mandala, by Sergio Bianchi, Simone Fracasso, and Chiara Pellegrin of Italy

The founder is a double digit Burner and software engineer:

The competition was spearheaded by Brian McConnell, a software engineer and ten-year Burning Man veteran. The original idea was to create a site-specific installation at the festival itself presenting visionary ideas for the urban planning of Black Rock City. But as McConnell quickly realized, thinking about designing a smarter temporary city also surfaced some bigger ideas which might extrapolate into other areas of city-building. McConnell was particularly impressed by the quality and originality of proposals, he said. “There are some designs that have gone completely out of the box.”…

The submissions, as well as all the online comments, will be published in a book that will be available for purchase and will be given to the festival organizers. “The best-case scenario would be that the planners see something that’s very interesting or extraordinary and decide to use it in some way,” said McConnell. But he also loves the idea of delivering annual feedback through the competition format. “The real goal of this would be to make it part of the annual planning process and kind of a ritual,” he said. Planners could offer up concerns and ask for improvements that could be implemented the following year.

McConnell also sees the potential value of completely reinventing the city’s plan each year, perhaps with a layout that responds to the theme, which changes annually. “It’s gotten so large they can’t do radically different things,” he said. “What if each time you went it was a significantly different city plan, and you would have to figure it out?”

Read the whole story here

As someone who’s only been to Burning Man 11 times, that sounds like a great idea. They’ve already shown they can have a “2.0” of any particular theme, so we can always go back to the past. That’s part of it too. In the future we will probably have “Fertility 21”.

Phillippe Glade’s Golden Rebar Awards highlight the incredible architectural creativity of Burners. The style even has its own name: burnitecture. The Tiny House movement is starting to follow in the revolutionary footsteps of the Maker Movement, and it too has links to Burning Man.

What is stopping us from making this experimental city in the desert an actual experiment?

Is it Tradition? Ritual? A lack of ideas, vision, leadership?

Or is it the nature of the existing experiment, that is still being done on all the rats in this alluring anarchic maze without walls – who ALL voluntarily assume the risk of serious injury or death by participating ?

1998 ticket

Rod Garrett was great, may he rest in peace; David Best is amazing, and doesn’t need Burning Man to be an artist on the world stage. Let’s give the fresh, young, new, unseen and untried ideas a chance. Why should only the Medici and their bankster friends get to decide the direction art, civilization, technology takes?

If you didn’t get it yet, I think an experiment to come up with different layouts for Black Rock City is an excellent idea. Bauhaus and the Panopticon have been tried, OK, let’s move on.

3nd attempt-almost final

 

Screenshot 2016-03-23 17.20.12

[Update 3/23/16 5:53 pm – added images and link to video clip of Burning Man Founder talking about the city design]

Here’s BMOrg’s official position on trying a new city layout, or even incorporating any ideas from Burnenrs. According to them, BRCUP have started a conversation, and we’ll see what happens next. Don’t hold your breath!

We recently caught wind of a Black Rock City Street Plan Design Competition hosted by an experienced group of participants calling themselves the Black Rock City Ministry of Urban Planning (BRCMUP). The Burning Man organization has nothing to do with it, but we thought, hey, this could be fun to watch. And then an architecture blog called ArchDaily wrote about the competition on August 16 without doing its journalism homework, so now we have to clear a couple things up.

Burning Man is not involved with this competition, and we aren’t “select[ing] a winner”. The BRCMUP organizers never said we were, either. They say they’ll present their winner to us, and then it’s up to us what we do with it. So the ArchDaily blog post was in error, and it has since been corrected.

As for the contest itself, the official description is worded pretty strongly:

“The final choice of design will rest with bmorg [sic] based on a combination of popularity, logistics and space considerations (including the option to retain the current city plan).”

We love the ingenuity of Burners and are curious to see what they come up with through this competition. We will certainly take a look at all the top designs in this competition, not just the winner, out of curiosity and admiration. The ideas generated by this competition could also be useful to Regional Events, which are in various stages of growth and planning, each with their own location’s design challenges, and we think that’s great. But there are no plans to redesign Black Rock City.

Thanks to BRCMUP for starting an interesting conversation, and we look forward to seeing what comes of it.

[Source]

So, we started an interesting conversation. And so far 72 designs have been submitted. The designs show just how much unbelievable talent is available for BMOrg to tap into, if they truly chose crowd-sourcing, participation, civic responsibility, immediacy, and communal effort as their path.

You can view randomly chosen designs from the gallery and enter the competition at Black Rock City Ministry of Urban Planning. Seems to me that would be a much better official Ministry for BMOrg to have than their only one so far: Propaganda.

Let’s discuss these ideas. Many of them don’t even require the 0.666% of a circle pentagram design to change.

2013 double pentagram

Or, even better than just talking: put on parties based on those designs and we’ll promote them here and go check them out.

 

 

 

Kiwi Invents Ultimate Tiny House

skysphere-728x400

Playa-ready? The Skysphere can withstand Category 3 winds on its 50 ton movable base, and it delivers beers on command. Imagine a few of these techno treehouses together, joined up with rope bridges and ziplines, maybe a slide or two…

Palmerston North, where the first Skysphere was erected by farmer/inventor Jono Williams, is very close to official Burning Man regional Kiwiburn. Kia kaha cuz!

From collective-evolution

You have to see this to believe it. Situated amongst the hills of Palmerston North in New Zealand, The Skysphere is the brain child of Jono Williams, whose passion for mechanical engineering and design led him to construct the steel structure. When Jono began working on the project he didn’t even know how to weld, but along the way he learned all the skills needed to build his dream. Overall, he estimates that over 3000 hours were spent on its construction.

Being a typical Kiwi bloke, Jono has installed an automated beer dispenser. Yes that’s right, an automated beer dispenser! Whether you think this is over-the-top or not, you have to give it to Jono — he is definitely creative and has the ability to engineer a high spec treehouse that runs on solar power. He had a vision and simply decided make it a reality: he just modelled it on a computer, did some Googling, and built it. It was that simple.

Built to withstand an 8.5 earthquake and 200 kilometre an hour winds, Jono’s Skysphere even has a ‘Zombie Mode’ built into it, just in case things really hit the fan. And absolutely everything is automated, from the lights and doors to the fingerprint reader. Unfortunately, if you are Jono’s 251st friend you won’t get inside, as his fingerprint reader can only account for 250 people! Jono controls everything, from working out how much power he has generated from the solar panels mounted on the roof, to the level of lighting, to his entertainment system, all run by an app. To top it off, this fully transportable high tech treehouse has a star view platform which gives Jono and his 250 friends access to the universe and a spectacular night time vista

[Source: collective evolution]

This is the sort of thing we have to do in New Zealand, to keep the orcs out.

Image: My Photo journeys / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Image: My Photo journeys / Flickr CC BY 2.0

2015 Golden Rebar Awards: Pods Pervade the Playa

This year, pods dominate the Golden Rebar Awards – which may need their name changed to Golden Screw, after everyone’s favorite Playa McGyver FIGJAM (Fuck I’m Good, Just Ask Me) won the Structural Upgrade award:

“Structural Upgrade” Golden Rebar goes to Figjam

Popularized thanks to the research and feedbacks of FIGJAM, a knowledgeable burner on numerous ePlaya threads, a 1/2″X18 or 3/8″X14 lag screw with 2 round links of chain drilled vertically in the playa with an impact driver, anchors a one-level shelter faster and safer than the time tested rebars.
Anyone interested in this technique must read this thread. Apparently a lot of participants did it, this year it was the anchor of choice in many places.
Should I rename my award The Golden Screw?

This is my closest neighbor’s windward anchor for his classic EMT metal frame shade. It endured a week of unrelenting winds without moving a centimeter. As for my shade anchored with 22 angled rebars that took 90 min to pound in, some were loose with 2 ready to pop out something that never happened before, thanks to these years of French Riviera weather. My neighbor anchored his camp in 5 min.


The ShiftPod, designed by Burners as a camp solution, made their debut at this year’s Burning Man. Reports were excellent, problems were few; a great result for a first attempt. They won Pop-Up Tent of the Year.

“Pop-up Tent of the Year” Golden Rebar for
 The Shiftpod

The most talked about tent went viral from 1 last year to nearly 400 of them this year on the playa. 
This space-age looking adult size tent 6.5ft/2m high was designed by BRC veteran Christian W, leader of Shift camp, with burners needs in mind and adapted to the peculiar weather pattern of the city.
Fast to set up and take down the strong pop-up frame associated with reinforced corners resisted the fierce 2015 storms, floor and doors have large zippers, the three-layer UV-reflective nylon fabric helped sleep in and without mesh minimized dust invasion. 
Most of the campers interviewed were satisfied but some advised for an overhead shade or the easy addition of A/C with the provided vents to achieve Hexayurt cool. 
This well though out Shiftpod is a great addition to the small family of desert proof shelters. 
With Christian W willingness to improve this product through owners feedback, soon it could be as popular as the ubiquitous canvas Springbar and Kodiak tents in the same price range.

Large enough to really accommodate two campers, a queen-size bed can fit in.

The portal windows have removable covers and the air vents can be closed to prevent dust in.

We are at Mayan Warrior camp not on the moon

Shift Pod founder Christian says:
 .
IMG_6962We are very excited about the “Golden Rebar Award” and really the support we have received from our community.  After putting so much in over the last 20+ years it is very rewarding to “feel the love” and support from everyone.  The SHIFTPODS we conceived, designed, built and delivered all within 8 months.  We got them out to the playa just in time and had a problem rate of less than 6%.  I think we did pretty good for the first run in one of the harshest environments in the world! Now we have taken the feedback and made several improvements including fixing zipper issues, making the stakes longer, and making clear instructions so the 2 (overtired) people who tried to set the SHIFTPODS up inside out won’t do that again. The new version of the SHIFTPOD can be ordered now for February delivery.
.
Things are really taking off.  We have transitioned from camp fundraising project to real company and we have a team of burners all contributing to make things go fast forward. Its great to be able to work with friends that actually get things done and say “lets make it happen” rather than that can’t be done. We are now prepped for hyper growth and are very excited for 2016!  
.
DSC_6393We have just released our new video and are working on several others, we have launched a new web site, developed a new super cool roller travel bag, several new accessories and are working on a new playa ready AC / Heater unit specifically for the SHIFTPOD ( it looks like they re-purposed a bunch of the best patio heaters, it actually looks good).  We have also set up a B2B rental company, and have several large events we will be providing SHIFTPODS for.  We have set up a distribution partnership that will help us manage delivering 500 SHIFTPODS in 2015 to tens of thousands next year.
.
SHIFTPODS @ MAYAN
As a camp support project the SHIFTPODS were able to raise money to support camp SHIFT (9:45 & Esplanade) with the Ferris wheel, they provided the ability to send SHIFTPODS to Nepal, Napa and now to Greece.  They also helped support our efforts to send Burning Man bikes to kids in Cuba.  Moving forward, the SHIFTPODS will continue to support camp SHIFT and our efforts.  In addition to this, for every 20 SHIFTPODS sold we will contribute one to a family in need right here in the USA!  Fires, earthquakes, floods and tornadoes happen all the time.  We want to be ready to help in times of need.  We hope to expand this program by challenging big (Burner Run) companies like Yahoo, Google, Tesla, Zappos  and others to brand SHIFTPODS and then store them at the ready, to be deployed to the next disaster.  The hope is they will spend some of their marketing or social responsibility budgets on SHIFTPODS to help people in need.  We are setting up a 501(c)3 specifically for this project and reaching out to family offices and large companies for support.
.
I know it sounds a bit “hippie dippy” but we really want to maintain the vibe and grow organically.  We want to have close connections to our “customers/users”, we want to work with our capable friends, and really keep this as a “For Us – By Us” company.
.
Join Us!  Lets have some fun, lets make a difference, lets create a SHIFT.  Please send us SHIFTPOD photos, watch the video, find us on Facebook and Instagram and spread the word! 
 .
Christian
SHIFTPODS
.

Burner innovation, helping other Burners and helping the world too. Love it. Here’s the video he mentioned:


Shift Camp are not the only Burners coming up with their own high-tech housing solutions based on years of personal Playa experience.

If there is a pod spectrum with the open source hexayurt design, Shiftpods and disaster relief at one end; then the dhomain dhomes are more at the other end, where relief is something Billionaire Burners seek from their Mistresses of Merriment after a hard day’s jaunting on their VIP art cars.

“The Future has landed” Golden Rebar goes to
Dhomain by Michael Beneville

Designer Michael Beneville created dhomain, a rapidly deployable multi-purpose space with all the amenities of modern living. This blow-up temporary house uses constant positive air pressure to shape the living space in a 9 ft high dome while permanently inflated beams keep the structural integrity of the shelter should its skin be punctured. 
Inside, a core made of modular panels, contains a functional kitchen, a toilet, a shower stall and a closet. The structural and technical hub with A/C and a pipes network partitions the entire area of 300 sq ft/28 m2 in a bedroom with a queen size bed and a living room with couch and coffee table.
When the skin and beams are deflated and packed around the core, 8 of them fit on a flatbed truck to be dispatched for emergency shelters under any climate.
 
Of course, this fantastic forward-looking temporary habitat with such accommodations is not for the average burner but Black Rock City is an all-embracing community where everyone as long as they participate are welcomed.
Michael Beneville with dhomain responded to an understandable quest of well-being in a creative and innovative way that broadens the field of ephemeral architecture.

7 dhomains were part of the very friendly and open Camp Psyclone.

The living room of Michael Beneville’s dhomain.

The core/hub with the kitchen with oven, micro wave, hot plate and fridge.

The other side of the core/hub with shelves and closet, behind the left panel there is the shower stall.

The bedroom in the Michael Beneville dhomain.

RVs are SOOOOO 20th Century, dude. Pop-up bat caves are where its at.

As well as “just like a bought one” production-ready pods, highly customized pods were popular too, mixing Art and Architecture – artchitecture?

“New Shape” Golden Rebar for
 the Rhombi by Gregg Fleishman

To house their 20″ telescope at the Black Rock Observatory, the Desert Wizards of Mars conducted by “Major Tom”Varden asked architect/artist/visionary Gregg Fleishman to build an open sky planetarium.
Gregg, the 2013 Temple and Otic Oasis designer, came up with a brand new structure shaped as a 
rhombicuboctahedron that I will shorten for obvious reason to the “Rhombi”.
Made of 14 ply Latvian Birch CNC milled interlocking wood pieces, this octahedral dome flat packs and sets up without screws or fasteners using only slots and notches to connect all the parts.

 “Jules Verne” Golden Rebar goes to
 Scott Parenteau

Not only busy participating in the construction of the Black Rock Observatory, Scott Parenteau
already a Golden Rebar recipient in 2013 with his metal pods, brought to the playa his latest creation, the smallest 2-person shelter in the world.
During the day in its vertical position it is a kitchen with a shower head and storage, at night using the gears fashioned by Scott, the pod goes in horizontal position where with added plywood panels the unit transforms in a 2 person bedroom with a skylight looking at the milky way.

A view of the kitchen/bathroom with stainless steel sink

The pod in nighttime position, the flexible conduit carries utility cables for water and electricity.

Made by Scott Parenteau

One of my favorite architects, the Austrian Hundertwasser who lived much of his life in New Zealand, got a look in:

“Burner in Wonderland” Golden Rebar for the
Hundertwasserhaus of John deJong

Long time burner John deJong wanted to participate with an abode of his own that would be easy to setup and take down. 
An admirer of the iconoclastic architecture of Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000) John built a free standing Black Rock City landmark with three stories made of interlocking plywood panels that albeit quirky looking sustained without problem the fierce winds sweeping relentlessly the playa.

John’s wife at the window

This theme camp came up with a simple idea that is easy to run and a great gift for everyone.

  “High” Golden Rebar for Camp Panorama

With a structure made of modular aluminum trusses camp Panorama offered after an exhausting ascent a comfortable platform to enjoy the city up in the air.A good example of interactive camp by nature.

Best overall theme camp was…

“Theme Camp” Golden Rebar goes to 
Camp Suburbia
The usual purpose of coming to Black Rock City is to escape the day-to-day grind of the city, eschew homogenization and look at a brand new landscape. Some burners from Seattle, Portland and Bend  thinking out of the box brought to the vast expanse of the desert a colorful touch of normality.
Complete with the lawnmowers, garages, mailboxes, satellite dishes and the open trench waiting for DPW to come fix the sewer leak, this village of 8 houses built with frames and plywood panels was inhabited by an entertaining group of anything but bored suburbanites.

See the rest of the award winners here. Thanks to all Burners who are innovating in architecture and temporary housing at Burning Man and beyond – the world really needs it.

Philippe Glade’s 2011 book The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man sold out at 1100 copies, and no more will be produced. But next year he will release a new book, Black Rock City, NV  The New Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man – covering the years 2011-2015. If you want to participate in this project, please contact Philippe.

Where Did The SHIFTPOD Come From?

A guest post from Christian, leader of SHIFT Camp, and inventor of the SHIFT Pod. There were three hundred of these on the Playa this year, and so far reports back from Burners have been overwhelmingly favorable.

Screenshot 2015-10-11 16.20.24 Screenshot 2015-10-11 16.20.10 Screenshot 2015-10-11 16.19.24

I think it is great that Burners are innovating to make their camps better, and sharing their innovations with the rest of the community.

Here’s what SHIFT Camp (a registered non-profit) is about:

SHIFT is based on the following ideals

Walk in peace and with grace.
Do good unto others, without judgment, or expectation.
Love thy neighbor, and love thyself.
Practice forgiveness.
Leave places and people better than you found them.
Be proactive and participate in life.

The ethos at SHIFT it to provide the ‘set and setting’ for people to have a shift experience; a shift in paradigm.  How can you contribute to this effort? How can you create this for others and how can you engage and create this space for yourself? We ask you do things you would not normally do. Get dirty, get involved, participate, pick up trash, fill your own RV and wipe your own ass.

This is not just another weekend at the disco.

SHIFT brings together art and artists from all over the world, sound and stage, hosts talks, and provides fun experiences for to help foster those SHIFTs or “Ahhhh haaa” moments. SHIFT is also active in the local community and is collecting, cleaning and donating bikes to send to kids in Cuba in 2015!

SHIFT supports art and outreach projects all over the world.

How can you make your own SHIFT experience?


by C W:

Where did the SHIFTPOD come from?

I run a camp out at Burning Man called SHIFT and have been burning since 1992. 23 years if my math is right. Prior to this I threw parties in LA and the first rave parties in Seattle. I love the EDM and BM culture and am proud to have been there from the very beginning.

Last year at our camp I found myself in a friends foam yurt, on a couch, looking around it was all decked out, with A/C, refer and a bed. I stomped my feet on the ground and said “it feels really good to be on the ground”.

My first burn I slept in the van, on the van and under the van, I had only a tee shirt and shorts, some water, bread, peanut butter and jelly and a couple of bottles of Jack Daniels. Tickets were $60 at the gate, and the population was less than 5000. Things were much different then, rough and raw, I had a massive SHIFT experience. Over the years I ended up in RVs which are high off the ground, disconnected and wiggly under every step. Being back on the ground felt very good. It felt solid and I felt reconnected with where my journey started.

I thought “I want to be in a yurt next year!” I then learned of the time required to build it, to put it up every year and to store it. Not to mention the $200 in tape required every year.

There has to be a better way. I run a huge camp, I don’t have time, I don’t have space, and all that waste every year doesn’t feel right. Tents suck and let all the dust in. They don’t hold up in the wind. They take too much time to set up and most are too small. There has to be another way.

After the burn, a few months later I started working on a ideas, sketches, and prototypes, re-engineering, testing and patent work. The SHIFTPOD was born. They really do set up in less than one minute, twenty eight seconds and strike in less than 3 minutes. They are large roomy, insulated against the heat of sun, easy to store and move.

We set SHIFTPODs up as a fundraising project for camp and began the process of producing them. We distributed our first 300 SHIFTPODs to eager donors and delivered them just before and at the 2015 burn. We were supported by Millennials, Boomers, Hippies and Hipsters, Rich getting out of RVs and Poor upgrading out of dusty tents.

Because of the demand (and exposure in Burners.Me) we were also able to send 5 SHIFTPODS ($4000+shipping) to Nepal to help earthquake victims (and 5 more to be sent as we can place them), and we were able to bring back 15 of the used PODs to offer the victims of the Lake County fires. We were also able to support our camp and our bikes to Cuba project.

One of the huge bummers of Burning Man 2015 was the wind and the dust. For us it was the best possible test for the SHIFTPODs. Yahoo reported 30-40MPH sustained winds with gusts to 90MPH, other more official reports on the playa said 50MPH. In the words of one of our new SHIFTPOD owners, “My SHIFTPOD shed the wind like it was nothing”. The response has been overwhelming and positive. The size, the set up time, the durability and mobility… all confirmed.

Now, we are poised to do more for those in need. We are setting up a program to ship SHIFTPODS to refugee camps and people in need. For every 20 SHIFTPODs sold we will ship one to a family in need. Over time we hope to get this down to every 10 SHIFTPODs sold but we have to start somewhere, right?

Live your life, party in a POD and help give someone in need a home at the same time. That’s a Win/Win in my book.

If you want to help let us know! We are looking for positive, proactive people to work with as we take the project forward. If you are into getting it done and making big things happen, please get in touch.

Lasting, a big shout out and THANK YOU all in caps to BURNERS.ME for getting the story out and being directly responsible for more than 80 SHIFTPOD donations. Also, thank you to all of our supporters and people who took the risk with us. We appreciate you.

Please send photos of you and your SHIFTPODs! Post them on Instagram! #shiftpods And please like us on Facebook! Help spread the word!

Lets have fun and make a difference!

Christian
#SHIFTPODS


Burners.Me:

Well done Christian – I get what you’re saying about the feeling of being on the Playa, instead of isolated in an RV. Sometimes I just bite the bullet and just give myself Playa foot, it’s a way of remembering…

Glad we could help and I am most happy about 20 people getting relief homes in Nepal and Lake County. This is Burners making a difference in the world, I hope BMOrg applauds and promotes it too.

Other innovations have come from the Burn already like Google, Solar City, Google Maps, Google Earth, Firechat, The Simpsons…it’s great to see some non-profit ones emerging now too. Because that’s what Burning Man is all about, right? Let’s hope some Burners.Me readers step up to assist SHIFT with this vision, there is a lot of talent and passion in this community that I’m sure would love to get behind something that is now proven and Burner-endorsed, rather than an idea written on a hipster whiteboard in the Mission.


shift pod mommy